Executive Leader Coach


December 2013 & January 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader CoachStop, Start, Continue. That's an exercise we try to do each year in our CEO group. We pick from 1 to 3 items to put under each of the three headings. Those things I will stop doing this coming year, things I will start doing that are new and those effective things I've been doing that I will continue doing. It's a great exercise. It helps keep us and our teams moving forward with improvements in our business operations and personal lives. Yes, it's a good thing to use the same exercise for our personal lives as well, and December is a fine time to do this work. If you haven't tried this exercise then perhaps you will this year. It's better than the usual New Year's Resolutions, especially if you share your list with an accountability partner!

Happy New YearYikes! December! Holidays! New Years! Where did the time go? Among the things I put on my "start" list last year was to make sure I spent more time writing and relaxing. I've managed to do the writing thing fairly regularly (the Blog posts are written pretty consistently each week and are incorporated in this monthly newsletter). And I'm managing more "down time" too. Which is why this is a "two month" version of the newsletter. We (Penny, my partner, my wife, editor, best friend) and I leave 12/23/2013 to spend the holidays with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson. We will be returning around 1/6/2014 and I will head right into "meeting week." So, in anticipation of "no time," I've decided to just call this a two month issue. If, for some unexpected reason, I feel as though I need/want to send out another issue in January, I can always call it a "special edition," eh? ;-)

Happy HolidaysThen, we already have a cruise to Hawaii planned for the end of March. That will be fifteen days off and much of that disconnected. Not sure if that will really be relaxing for me!

So I wish you all very Happy Holidays with lots of warmth, friendship and family time as well as a fabulous New Year in 2014. Meanwhile, back to the task at hand - providing useful information, opinions and book reviews for your consideration.

Most of the women in my life are strong, intelligent and self-assured. Certainly that's true of my spouse and daughter. I learn much from them both and consider them to be a vital part of my professional network. They give me a different view of the world, one that is often much more complete than my own "geeky" view of things. And now, there is science to inform me why that seems to be so. I share that with you in the first article below. I hope it encourages you to consider being very deliberate in building your leadership teams. More women leaders please!

It seems I can't avoid the continuing discussion on sales, the selling process and what's missing or wrong with the models we are using. This topic came up once again during a lively discussion on the "bad news" for retailers in the Black Friday retail numbers. I'm not sure the numbers are really all that bad, but time will tell on that count. This new sales discussion came about with a friend sending me a quotation from Harvey Mackay, and it went from there. In the second article, Selling Yourself, I go down the Zen path once again - in order to sell, you must not sell. What? ;-)

In the third article, I share a discussion with a colleague around how the business owner for whom he works takes back control and demotivates their employees by inappropriately using "I" statements. Normally, I find myself telling people to "Use I statements. Take responsibility for what you're saying, and don't speak for others." This article points out why that isn't always good advice.

Two more book reviews follow in the fourth section. One book I very much enjoyed reading, one not so much. I hope you realize that tastes are different and so while I found one of these books lacking, that doesn't mean you will too. And of course, vice versa. At any rate, the reviews are there for your consideration.

Since I wrote the Hubris Abounds post, the federal government's Affordable Care Act (ACA) website roll out has apparently been very much improved. But still, I think it is worth discussing how the general public, many company employees and especially the politicians can't possibly understand how difficult such an implementation is. Many projects, even in the private sector, run by "experts," fail to please.

A continuing topic in our business (and personal) lives is the growth of big data, surveillance of our every activity and how this data can be used for the common good rather than for nefarious ends. The post Connecting dots is an attempt to share some thoughts on why it is important to have a civil discussion on this topic. We need and want to protect our citizens. To do that, our security people need to connect the dots, so to speak. And to connect them they must have them. Still, we need to have a dialogue on this topic and come to a consensus.

Finally, in the Nullius in verba column, I share some thoughts on how sometimes the most "insignificant" events in our early lives shape the person we become. This was a wonderful exercise from my own mentor who asked our group a pretty interesting question, "What incident or event from your past shapes you as the leader you are today?" It's worth pondering.

And I also revisit a previous post on Copyright Trolls and Bullies. The irony in this update is just too interesting to not pass it along. Many of you have commented on how you too have been "harassed" and so I'm sure you will enjoy this update as much as I did.

I hope you find this "double issue" of our monthly newsletter useful. Our aim is to add value, challenge your thinking, and provide some entertainment along the way. Happy Holidays. Happy New Year. Stay well.

Dave Kinnear

CCE-Board Certified Coach
Vistage Chair

Back to top

We Need More Women Leaders

And Here's Why

Male and Female brains are wired differently, leading to different skillsets. Complementary skillsets at that. Most organizations need all the skills covered by the two different wiring systems, ergo – more women leaders, please.

For a long time now, we’ve made jokes, had anecdotal stories to share and have become very frustrated over the differences between the genders.

Read Full Post . . .

Back to top


Selling Yourself

Black Friday started this discussion on selling

This topic keeps returning to the conversation. It’s like that proverbial bad penny that keeps showing up (Bad Penny: A person or thing which is unpleasant, disreputable, or otherwise unwanted, especially one which repeatedly appears at inopportune times– definitely NOT Penny my wife!) The latest conversation on sales got started with the bad news on how Black Friday was significantly below par and Cyber Monday isn’t going to help. Many pundits are thinking that this will end up being a disappointing retail season and mainly because all the sales, opening on Thanksgiving, and “fighting” to get the cyber-shoppers in the store instead of on the computer has devastated profits.

Read Full post . . .

Back to top

A Huge Leadership Demotivator - "I"

I statements are not always useful even if true

A colleague from the Midwest works for a very successful private company in a leadership role (no, NOT my Chicago based son for those of you who know me). In a recent conversation, things got around to how disappointed he is in how the company owner frequently demotivates people with his continued use of the pronoun “I.” And he isn’t using “I” to take responsibility, accountability or express an opinion. Rather it’s in the form of he is the one taking the risk, he is the one who must make payroll and he’s the one who is under the most pressure.

Read Full Post . . .

Back to top

Book Reviews

The New Digital Age by Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen

I looked forward to this book for a couple of weeks as I was finishing up a few books which I had committed to read. When I finally got around to The New Digital Age, I found I was quite disappointed. There were very few new insights from what I’ve been reading for years now and this book could easily have been much shorter. There were what I consider to be a lot of “statements of the obvious.” For example: “Everyone will benefit from connectivity, but not equally, and how those differences manifest themselves in the daily lives of people is our focus here.” Well, that has been a topic for years now. And the authors went on to give their view (focus), which did not add anything new to what has been in the press for many months/years.

Read Full Review . . .


David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

As always, Malcolm Gladwell gave us a new twist on a very old story and shakes our image of how the world is. Many readers of this blog will almost immediately understand the reference to that Jewish Old Testament story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17 if you want to investigate). Perhaps most have read that story with the understanding that the message is one of hope and faith that a miracle can happen; that an underdog can overcome all odds and be victorious.

Read Full Review . . .

Back to top

Hubris abounds from DC to Silicon Valley

No, the "experts" haven't really figured out how to seamlessly implement large Enterprise Resource Planning Systems!

At the time of this writing (10/27/2013) the roll-out of the now infamous Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be mired in Information Technology (IT) bugs. I feel a bit embarrassed about my response to this quite predictable debacle. It’s the same embarrassment I feel when a friend takes a bad fall and I find myself laughing because it was such a funny sight to see. But at the same time, I’m worried about his or her well being – did they get hurt? Gosh that was a funny fall though.

Read Full Post . . .

Back to top

Connecting dots

How do we expect to connect dots we don't have?

Everywhere we go most of us are leaving behind “signals” – dots if you will – about where we’ve been and what our interests were. When we’re moving in the physical world, many of us are more or less tracked by our portable electronic devices. When we move about in the virtual world, we are leaving digital signatures everywhere. This creates a massive opportunity for positive improvements and also an opportunity for abuse if not downright sinister activity on the part of governments, businesses and scammers.

Read Full Post . . .

Back to top

Nullius in verba

The Ice Cube Tray and Leadership

The facilitator of a group to which I belong asked a question, “What incident or event from your past shapes you as the leader you are today?” Of course the first thing that passed through my mind was “how and where am I being a leader today?” We all have many roles in life and not all roles are leadership roles. After a while, I managed to focus on the real question. However, narrowing the question down did not make it easy to answer. There are and have been lots of events, people, role models, coaches and mentors in my life. They all contribute to who I am as a person, as a coach and as a leader.

Read Full Post . . .


Trolls and Bullies Revisited!

The irony in this news is so sweet, I'm almost embarrassed at how hard I laughed!

(Post updated 12/7/2013) It turns out that sometimes Trolls wind up being hoist on their own petard!

"Photographer Daniel Morel says his decisive victory in court last week against Agence France Presse (AFP) and Getty images was not only vindication for him, but a victory for all photographers trying to eke out a living in the digital age.

A federal jury awarded Morel $1.2 million in damages after determining that both agencies willfully infringed his copyrights in 2010 by distributing eight of his exclusive news images of the Haiti earthquake without permission." - See more at: pdnonline

Read full post . . .

Back to top